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Opening General Session: Christie Hefner on Change, Business, and the First Amendment

Opening General Session speaker Christie Hefner drew a clear parallel between businesses and libraries in terms of what they need to do to survive. She noted how, as Playboy CEO, she came to the conclusion that the company "didn't want to be a magazine company---we wanted to be a company that represented a style of content." That led Playboy to expand to television in the 1980s, the internet in the 90s, and mobile devices today. Libraries, she said, can not simply fill the traditional roles of providing books and research materials.

Chatting with Christie Hefner

ALA Annual Conference keynote speaker Christie Hefner took a few minutes to chat with me before her Opening General Session speech. Hefner is the director of the Center for American Progress and longtime CEO of Playboy Enterprises, the company founded by her father, Hugh Hefner, and restructed and expanded by Christie.

James Ellroy Boosts Books, Blasts Bits

Author James Ellroy is an arrogantly proud Luddite who exults in his disengagement with contemporary culture. "I live in a vacuum," he told a rapt crowd who attended his Saturday-morning Auditorium Speaker Series appearance. "I ignore pop culture, I don't read a newspaper." Ellroy, known for L.A.

Annual Saturday: (Screen)Casting a Wide Net

The RUSA MARS Hot Topics Discussion Group presented a panel discussion on screencasting Saturday: "Casting a Wide Net: Using Screencasts to Reach and Teach Library Users." Committee co-chair Michelle Jacobs was not in attendance, so--appropriately enough--she introduced the session via screencast. Eric Frierson of the University of Texas at Arlington demonstrated how his library's online catalog used embedded screencasts, with links to videos such as "Where's the PDF?", "I need peer-reviewed", or "Bad Results" appearing when users are likely to need them.

YALSA meets Project Runway

The crowd of 400 teen-services librarians cheered wildly as their colleagues strutted and posed along the catwalk in the Westin River North Hotel Friday night for YALSA’s happy hour and fashion show. The event was hosted by New York Public Library Young Adult Librarian Jack Martin, but the big draw was Chicago fashion designer Steven Rosengard, who emceed the fashion show.

Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait…

The action at Annual Conference is still ramping up, but the first event I attended–yesterday’s taping of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, was a sell-out success.

YALSA meets Project Runway

The crowd of 400 teen-services librarians cheered wildly as their colleagues strutted and posed along the catwalk in the Westin River North Hotel Friday night for YALSA's happy hour and fashion show. The event was hosted by New York Public Library Young Adult Librarian Jack Martin, but the big draw was Chicago fashion designer Steven Rosengard, who emceed the fashion show.

Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait...

The action at Annual Conference is still ramping up, but the first event I attended--yesterday's taping of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!, was a sell-out success. The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations (ALTAFF) bought out the taping as a fundraiser, and drew a sell-out crowd of more than 500 librarians. Host Peter Sagal said it was the show's first buyout of any kind, and certainly its first time playing to such a biblioaudience.

Know Your Stimulus Webinar

Do you know about broadband stimulus program just released?  If so, please join us on Wednesday, July 8 at 4pm EST for the Know Your Stimulus Webinar, where you will be able to hear directly from the experts. Leading the Webinar are Chris McLean and Greg Rhode, partners in the e-Copernicus consulting company, and John Windhausen of Telepoly.

Recession Drives Membership Numbers Downward

By any measure, the American Library Association's membership retention level has always been enviable. But the other shoe has dropped in the nation's economic "deep recession," as May figures show. With ALA Publishing Department revenue already in decline, membership dues revenue at $4.3 million is under budget by $127,000 or 2.8%. The number of new and renewing members has declined from 67,827 to 65,437, or -3.52%. On the plus side, ALA continues to see growth in student membership; May numbers were up by 2.3%.

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